Last week, when I was ready to head for Belize or Costa Rica, (somewhere warm with beaches, I hadn't worked out the details), I kept analyzing where I was emotionally and asking myself, "What happened? What went wrong?"
But the very simple answer is this: Nothing went wrong. It just went.
I do know some things that made it harder. We were matched with Yonas on March 31st, 2009. We waited almost a year to bring him home. We spent the majority of the past year filled with longing for our son, waiting for the time that we could hold him in our arms. It's not that we were unprepared for all the challenges; we took classes, read books. It's just that I imagined that the joy and relief of having him home would trump the challenges. But they didn't. That's a gross feeling, but an emotionally honest one.
I will also confess to thinking that I would be immune to the grip of Post-Adoption Depression. I'd read about it on the forum. I'd read Melissa Faye Greene's piece on Post-Adoption Panic. I had no judgment, only empathy. I just never in a million years thought it would touch me. I was wrong.
I also knew about the food issues that many post-institutionalized children face. But I naively thought that because Yonas had been in care for so long, that because he hadn't experienced the kind of hunger many children coming home from Ethiopia had, that those issues would be minor. I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
I underestimated how much grieving I had left to do for our family of five. I have grieved every change our family has undergone. Every incarnation has brought a what-are-we-doing-what-have-we-done? feeling. I just thought I'd worked through most of it. I was wrong.
In essence, I misread some stuff. I romanticized some stuff (who me??). I thought I was more capable than I was. And here is the kicker: I am not the person I thought I was.
I'm not head over heels in love, I'm not full of patience, I don't have the answers for every challenge Yonas lays down at my feet. And that's incredibly painful.
It's also really okay. I don't have to be more than I am (even though I really wish I could be).
I would love to know that every move I made was bringing us all closer to emotional health and peace. I would love to have a crystal ball that would reflect back to me our shiny, happy, healthy future selves.
When I was in my twenties I wrote on my bedroom wall: "Leap, and the net will appear." There is no crystal ball. But I'm doing everything I can to trust the net will appear.